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Alexis Sanchez in action against Huddersfield

Mourinho salutes Alexis's mentality

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Jose Mourinho has spoken with delight about the mentality and experience possessed by new signing Alexis Sanchez, ahead of Manchester United’s trip to face Newcastle United at St. James’ Park on Sunday.

The Chilean forward nabbed his first goal in United red during last Saturday’s 2-0 home win against Huddersfield Town, and was also named Man of the Match.

During Friday’s pre-match press conference, Mourinho was asked which of Alexis’s myriad qualities he particularly liked and he quickly responded:
“His mentality. I like to have in my team a player that loses the ball in minute 91 and doesn't stop until he recovers that ball – even if he is so tired like he was in the last minute of the last match [against Huddersfield].
 
“A crucial moment in football is when your team loses the ball and you become exposed and open for the opponent to hurt you. So when you have players in the team with that mentality of, 'I made a mistake or I lost the ball and I am going to recover it for my team', that is very important. The combination of Alexis's experience, talent and mentality makes a player that I like.”

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Alexis opened his United account against Huddersfield after winning a penalty when fouled by the Terriers’ Michael Hefele on 68 minutes. The forward saw his resulting spot-kick saved by Danish goalkeeper Jonas Lossl, but was able to turn home the rebound from a few yards out before a thrilled Stretford End.
 
The performance of the Reds' no.7 was also notable for earning seven free-kicks – no player has drawn more fouls in a single game so far during the current Premier League season.
 
“You can see the way Alexis was 'welcomed' by the opponents,”
reflected his manager.
“He's a tough boy, he's a pure guy, he's a guy that copes with that. He coped at Yeovil in difficult conditions too with some bad tackles, and against Huddersfield.”

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United face Newcastle in the club's next Premier League match on Sunday (14:15 GMT) but Mourinho also believes Alexis’s experience can be vital when the Reds resume the UEFA Champions League campaign against Sevilla at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on 21 February.
 
“Alexis has a few years and a level of experience in the Champions League that my [other] attacking players don't have. He's played in the Champions League for clubs that were feeling the responsibility to play to win it, when he was at Barcelona. 
 
“As for my other boys, I think Lukaku is in his first season in the Champions League, Marcus Rashford I think the same or maybe he played a couple of matches with Mr Van Gaal. Anthony [Martial] had one season with Monaco and a couple of matches here too - the same about [Jesse] Lingard. [Juan] Mata obviously has more experience and is a Champions League winner. But we don't have many players with that know-how in the Champions League and Alexis, as part of his talent as a player, knows what the Champions League is and that is important because in the Champions League, when you go to the knockout stages, it’s for players that know how to compete at that level.

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